The NHS is after a cybersecurity partner to deliver a security operations centre (SOC), in a deal set to be worth £20m.
A contract notice, published by NHS Digital earlier this month, reveals plans to select a "strategic partner" that will develop and support the SOC over a three-year period.
In a statement, NHS Digital said the agreement will provide "enhanced monitoring of national services" and also bolster the NHS' ethical hacking capabilities.
Dan Taylor, head of the digital security centre at NHS Digital, said: "The partnership will provide access to extra specialist resources during peak periods and enable the team to proactively monitor the web for security threats and emerging vulnerabilities.
"It will also allow us to improve our current capabilities in ethical hacking, vulnerability testing and the forensic analysis of malicious software, and will improve our ability to anticipate future vulnerabilities while supporting health and care in remediating current known threats.
"By creating a national, near-real-time monitoring and alerting service that covers the whole health and care system, the SOC will drive economies of scale, giving health and care organisations additional intelligence and support services that they might not otherwise be able to access."
According to the contract notice, NHS Digital will invite five or six suppliers to tender for the contract, with the deadline for suppliers to express interest set at 20 December.
NHS Digital expects to invite potential suppliers to tender on 15 January next year.
The NHS, and the public sector as a whole, has been under intense scrutiny since the NHS was crippled by the WannaCry virus in May. Around a third of England's hospitals were reported to have been disrupted by the ransomware outbreak.
WannaCry's impact was largely blamed on the outdated and unsupported operating systems used by NHS organisations.
CRN research earlier this year found that 4.7 per cent of NHS computers were still running Windows XP.
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